A major figure of both the Art Informel and Tachisme movements, German-French painter Hans Hartung began experimenting with abstraction at the age of 17. Early exposure to Cubism and other burgeoning modernist styles of the era inspired the young Hartung to move from his native Leipzig to Paris, where he began to develop his own artistic vision incorporating patches of black and color to bring spontaneity and chance to the canvas. Gestural and unrestrained, Hartung’s work was labeled “degenerate” by the Nazi party, and today he is recognized as a significant forerunner to the wave of Lyrical Abstraction among American artists of the sixties and seventies.

The first and most important thing is to remain free, free in each line you undertake, in your ideas and in your political action, in your moral conduct ... The artist especially must remain free from all outer restraints.

Hans Hartung